Delaware's senior senator addressed a group of reporters Friday afternoon in Dover.
Many families in Dallas are in mourning today, the result of an attack that caused the deaths of five law enforcement officers in that city, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper told an assembled group of reporters late Friday afternoon.
But others also are grieving, families in Minnesota and Louisiana, where two men lost their lives after being shot by police officers, Carper said.
The attack in Dallas apparently came as a reaction to the deaths in those two states, the senator said.
Having just come out of a security briefing at the Delaware Information Analysis Center, Carper confirmed reports there had been only one gunman involved in the Dallas shooting. A total of 14 people were shot; in addition to those killed, seven other officers and two civilians were wounded by gunfire.
News reports have identified the man as former U.S. Army soldier Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite, Texas. Johnson, who had once served in Afghanistan, was killed by Dallas police, thus ending the night’s events.
As a veteran himself, the idea that a member of the military would turn on his fellow citizens is “deeply disturbing,” Carper said.
One of his major concerns, Carper said, are so-called “lone wolf” attacks such as the kind Johnson perpetrated.
As Carper was addressing reporters, the Delaware State Police put out a press release saying that while there are no known threats against the state, Delawareans must remain vigilant.
Possible threats or suspicious acts should be reported immediately via 911 or to the state’s terrorism tip line at 800-FORCE12.
In answer to reporter’s questions, Carper said it is time for the nation’s leaders to unite, and not to “turn this into an opportunity to build walls between us.”
Carper noted there seems to be a consensus that some people, including those on terror watch lists or who are mentally unstable, should not be allowed to purchase guns.
Although some states – including Delaware – have taken steps to curb purchases by certain groups, gridlock seems to have taken hold in Washington, Carper said.
“What we’ve had a hard time doing at the federal level is translating public opinion into legislation,” he said. It’s unconscionable that someone who’s not allowed to fly should still find it easy to buy an assault weapon, the senator said.
“In my opinion, that’s not very good common sense,” he said.
Carper’s office, along with that of Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney, had earlier released statements addressing the violence in Dallas.
“In moments like this, American resolve to join together with compassion, respect and love is the only salve that will heal us. We have so much work to do, but by embracing our brothers and sisters and treating them as we, ourselves, would like to be treated, we can overcome even the most heartbreaking tragedies,” the statement from Carper’s office read.
Coons echoed Carper’s sentiments.
“In moments like this, American resolve to join together with compassion, respect and love is the only salve that will heal us,” he wrote, “We have so much work to do, but by embracing our brothers and sisters and treating them as we, ourselves, would like to be treated, we can overcome even the most heartbreaking tragedies.”
Carney said the incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota bear further investigation because they apparently incited Johnson to attack the Dallas officers.
“Every American is promised equal rights and treatment under the law but too many are led, by these incidents, to question that guarantee,” Carney wrote. “We know that the success of police agencies across the country, including in Delaware, depend on the trust and cooperation of all the communities and citizens they serve.
“And so now, in the face of these tragic events, it’s time for all Americans to come together and address these issues with mutual respect and to start to heal the wounds that have been opened.”